There are several reasons to almost go to France for this part of the trainee program: First of all Saarbrücken is one of the biggest plants within the ZF group. Furthermore it also produces the probably best known product of ZF: The famous and beloved ZF 8HP automatic transmission. Due to the huge production facility in Saarbrücken, ZF is able to produce as many as 10.000 transmissions per day and deliver them to the world’s most prestigious car manufacturers like BMW, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar and so on.
During the three weeks of the production internship we split up in very different areas of the plant and rotated partly so that we could experience more than one field of interest. Examples of our work stations were at the assembly lines and in manufacturing but also the prototype construction area or even the tool shop. I for example started at prototype construction and then switched to the hybrid transmission line where I could work at several workstations. It was a great experience to get to know almost the whole hybrid production line due to working at every station for at least one day. Additionally it was even better to get in touch with the blue-collar workers at the line. It was remarkable how nice and open minded they have been which made it really hard to leave when the production internship was over.
Besides this aspect it was also very valuable to experience shift work with all the advantages and disadvantages of early, late and even night shift.
I’m very glad the ZF trainee program offers this experience as one of so many great insights within the company. Alternatively you could also phrase it like my Brazilian trainee colleague Lucas did: “That’s the nice thing about the trainee program: One day you work in the production line in Saarbrücken and the next day you have the chance to meet the Board of Management in Friedrichshafen.” (See Andrea’s post about the BoM presentation)